Florida native Kirsti Merritt was a star outfielder for the University of Florida. Over four seasons, in 250 games, Kirsti batted .306 with 36 home runs, 170 rbi's, 206 runs scored, 72 stolen bases and a .534 slugging percentage.
In her first year, she was the SEC Tournament MVP, while being named to the SEC All-Tournament Team. In her second season, she was a NCAA WCWS Champion. In her third year, she made first team All-SEC and in her final year, she made second team All-SEC.
In international play, Kirsti was a 2018 USA Softball International Cup Gold Medalist. In 2019, she was a 2019 Japan Cup Gold Medalist, a Pan American Games Gold Medalist and a USA Softball International Cup Gold Medalist.
After her career at Florida, Kirsti was selected in the 2016 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft by the USSSA Pride as the 25th overall pick. In her rookie NPF season, she hit .286 in 77 at-bats with 22 runs scored, two home runs, 10 rbi's and an .433 OBP.
Kirsti also played for Team USA on the international stage. Unfortunately, she did not make the 2020 (now 2021) Team USA Olympic roster. That simply shows how deep that roster is. kirsti is clearly one of the elite players in the United States.
I am sure Kirsti will be cheering on Team USA in the 2021 Olympics in July. I know I will be intently watching. I'll see so many friends and players I have watched. I'll also be thinking of players like Kirsti, who are so talented and don't get the exposure and recognition they deserve.
Follow Kirsti at @KirstiMerritt on twitter. Go to the Team USA softball site for more info on the team and the Olympics.
Kirsti Merritt and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2019.